Word came through today that a word had been deemed inappropriate. One word. Dyke. It seems Sussex LGBTQ Society find the use of the word dyke in the title of VG Lee and Rose Collis’ forthcoming Christmas production Bah Humbuggers (or Dyke the Halls) makes their members uncomfortable. Astonishment from and on behalf of the performers has been expressed and the word dyke is being reclaimed online with as much glee as you would a long lost item of lesbian luggage. Only the word dyke isn’t a long lost description of folks like me who find sustenance and sauce in the arms of women. Its a term used everyday. By us queers and, yes, those who have a problem with us. In playgrounds, on school buses, in the street, in life.
But surely we need to find comfort in the discomfort, reclaim with pride the terms that once condemned us and move on to fight another cause? Whether you, they or the homophobe calls me a dyke, queer, poof, lezzer, or my own personal 70’s favourite, the rug muncher, it matters not a queer jot in the wider scheme of things. Does an Russian lesbian defending their right to love whom they wish care what names they are called? Does a Uganda dyke care what names are spat with hatred at her as she endures the horror of corrective rape? LGBT rights is a global issue and we need to preserve our energies for the bigger fight. For the fight for equality. For the true meaning of Pride, not the labels we believe to be correct. If the word dyke is used to describe some of the fine women in my life or the term gay to describe my community that I can be so proud of, I’m happy with that. Fannying around (that’s probably another incorrectly used phrase that’s bound to offend someone) debating terms when the conditions of others is life threatening is a luxury so many can’t afford. So although I happen not to resemble a natural or artificial slope or wall that regulates water levels, I’m happy being called a dyke. Because I’m also a lesbian, a queer, a poof, a homo, a gay and yes, a lass with more things to worry about than what label is stuck on me because to the gender of the people I like to stick to.